Thursday, May 2, 2019

Goodbye Aperture. It was nice knowing you.

15:00 UTC
Friday, May 3, 2019

If you’re interested in speaking at Velocity in Berlin this November, proposals are due on Wednesday, May 8th.

I’m on the program committee this year and am looking forward to seeing a bunch of great talks!

10:40 UTC
Sunday, May 5, 2019

Redline, the Verge’s new feature about the 737 Max, is a good read covering of the issues that brought two jetliners down.

It’s not a story about a software bug—as so much of the coverage about the problems with the jet seems to be—but about the cascade of human error during the airplane’s design and certification.

The story of the Max is ultimately the story of the Darwinian business cycle where mature companies like Boeing face constant threats from new products, new competitors, and the search for new growth. Sometimes this motivates them to new heights of innovation and progress. Other times, it prompts them to pull everything back in the name of cost-cutting.

It’s that combined with regulatory capture that’s the real story. It won’t be enough to punish Boeing for this, but the FAA itself will need to address what it did wrong as well.

18:45 UTC
Monday, May 6, 2019

There are so many new geeky announcements this week coming out of Microsoft’s Build Conference.

My favorites are, in no particular order: VS Code Remote Development, which will enable cloud hosted development environments; Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, which will bring a full Linux kernel into Windows (What? No way!) and massively speed up the experience; and a new Windows Terminal with a modern interface and a new font, complete with programming ligatures!

21:30 UTC
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

“Democracy is not guaranteed, and it is not inevitable.”

Carole Cadwalladr’s TED talk about her work to understand how democracy in Britain and around the world was broken by technology — especially Facebook — is a must watch.

20:00 UTC
Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Microsoft Create startups tour arrives in Paris next Tuesday. If you’re going to be in Paris next week, be sure to register and come by for the afternoon.

I’ll be giving a talk titled “Building your technology roadmap.” It’s aimed at technology leads or first-time startup CTOs. Here’s the abstract:

As a startup engineer, you need a different roadmap than what would be useful in a more established organization. Instead of building a robust set of skills in a narrow area, you need to be able to leverage a lot of different technologies that operate at different levels, and an understanding of how they fit together across both the client and server.

We’d love to give you a universal roadmap, but every startup has a different set of technical needs to get from ideation to product-market fit. You’re going to have to build your own specific roadmap as you go. What we can do is give you our opinionated viewpoint on some of the most critical technologies that we think should be on your roadmap, including functions as a service (aka serverless), containers, data storage, and mobile frameworks.

Even if a listener doesn’t end up using any of the technologies we talk about, or even if they don’t use them on Azure, my intent is to give the listener enough information to consider what should be on their technical roadmap as a startup developer in 2019.

09:30 UTC

If it appears as if the forces of evil are winning here, it is because they are.”

Kara Swisher muses on Vox about the result of pushing growth over everything else and how machine learning will accellerate that change.

18:00 UTC
Monday, May 13, 2019

415ppm CO2.

12:50 UTC
Thursday, May 16, 2019

We had a great time at Create Startups in Paris this last Tuesday at Numa. At this stop, we changed our format to a half-day single track in the afternoon with four presentations plus a keynote. Even though it’s a challenge to get in all the information we want in just a half-day, it felt like the right length for an audience of this size and what we’re trying to do.

Next stop, Mumbai. I won’t be able to be there, but Chad Fowler will be giving the keynote, so I know it’s going to go well!

08:00 UTC

The miracle is over, and … there is an unbelievable amount of work left for us to do.

—Paul Ford

08:30 UTC
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

An 8-core new generation CPU MacBook Pro? Sounds great! Wait a minute… a slightly updated keyboard that should reduce problems? I dunno…

Darn it. I was hoping for better out of the next MacBook Pro release.

12:00 UTC

It’s yellow. It fits in your pocket. It’s got a crank.

Oh my gosh, Panic, what have you done now?

23:30 UTC
Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Britain has just gone 10 days without using coal.

It’s only been two years since the National Grid first ran without coal power for one full day. This is how progress is made.

04:00 UTC
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The loudness of American airports

As soon as you arrive in the United States from overseas, people are yelling at you. First, they’re telling you which queues to use depending on which passport you have. Somehow, the printed signage doesn’t suffice, though I have a hard time believing that uniformed officers quickly barking orders at people is of much use to a foreign-language speaker.

Get through that and, if you need to transfer flights, it’s right onto baggage recheck and then into a security queue were TSA agents are loudly rolling off many rules to follow. Shoes off. Jackets off. Computers out. It’s not the first time most people have done this, but screens and signs indicating what to do are not enough. I don’t know how people who aren’t American can even understand what’s said most of the time.

And then there are the televisions with the talking heads arguing with each other. And the endless “This is a security announcement…” announcements blaring over that.

Airports in Europe aren’t without their own quirks and stresses, but the first thing I appreciate when arriving in Europe on a flight from the United States is the relative difference in sound and tension. Walk off the plane. Find your way using the signage. Walk. Go through passport control without a stream of words yelled at you.

My favorite airport to arrive into from the States right now is Munich. It feels like a sanctuary. It’s almost too quiet.

I’m generalizing, of course. Every airport and every country has its own quirks. Berlin Schönefeld, for example, is an absolute chaotic disaster for a northern European airport. But, the next time you go between countries, listen.

Notice the difference. Enjoy the difference.

12:44 UTC

Duncan Davidson is a software developer, startup advocate, speaker, book author, and photographer living in Berlin.